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Sport 25: Spring 2000

Anna Livesey

Anna Livesey

page 118

Let's Look at Neurons

Let's look at neurons,
how they might encode information:

cats are shown pictures,
the view from a camera panning across a forest;
of red on the wing.

The team extrapolates patterns
via mathematical equations:
each cell reacts pi to the negative ten
(watch the flapping at the edge of the angle)
abscissa, scalar, modulus, sum.

Eavesdropping on the brains of cats,
they hope to reconstitute pictures:
chart 500 neurons in the lateral geniculate;
push coloured pins in the wall as they fire.

Our ultimate goal
is to comprehend the world:
how we know this is grandmother,
the other Marilyn Monroe.

page 119

In the Nature Section

Rows of butterflies
pinned in shallow glass cases.
This is the birds and bees room—
we kiss.

See, through here
half a duck disappears
into a concrete pond.

An albatross,
huge as a turkey,
surveys the scene
with her bead eye.

The skeletons
of two beaked whales
hang from the roof.

In a case in the next room
folding spectacles
and a memory pad
of thin bone.

A letter begins
Dear Mother, John and I
are looking to get away